One of the world's leading experts on brain blood flow and function is in Perth working with researchers from The University of Western Australia and the University of Melbourne to recruit more volunteers for their study investigating the effects of exercise on brain health.
Professor Phil Ainslie, a Raine Foundation Visiting Professor from the University of British Columbia in Canada, last month delivered two public lectures at UWA on his research into the effects of high altitude and deep-sea diving on the brain.
He is also working with Professor Danny Green from UWA's School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health and his team researching two types of exercise - walking on land and walking in water - to see if they can improve memory and brain function.
Professor Green said many people became concerned about their memory as they aged.
"Recent studies have suggested that exercise can prevent cognitive decline and may even increase the number and function of nerve cells in the brain," he said. "But we still haven't been able to identify the best type of exercise to achieve this result in humans."
Research Associate Professor Kay Cox said a previous study had revealed that land-based walking improved memory and cognition but the researchers now wanted to see if water-based walking would have the same effect or even provide additional benefits.
Participants in the study will undergo tests such as blood pressure, fitness, brain blood flow, memory and cholesterol at the start of the program and after six and 12 months. The testing will help researchers understand how exercise can improve brain function, health and potentially help prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Volunteers will be allocated to one of three groups - an education group, a land-based walking group, or a water-based walking group. The exercise groups will have an individually designed and fully supervised exercise program, to be run three times a week at the UWA Crawley campus for six months.
The research team is keen to hear from healthy, non-smoking, inactive men or post-menopausal women aged over 50 living in the Perth metropolitan area who have concerns about their memory but have not been diagnosed with cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. (Inactive is defined as not doing more than 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise once a week.)
For more details contact Elisa Robey on 6488 2378 during office hours, or email [email protected]
Associate Professor Kay Cox (+61 8) 6488 3887 or (+61 8) 9224 0237 / (+61 4) 08 922 851
UWA Media Office (+61 8) 6488 7977